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From the Publisher“This powerfully terse and clear-eyed book develops an outstandingly useful new perspective on the relation between language and politics in the 1855 Leaves of Grass.”---Jonathan Arac, author of The Emergence of American Literary Narrative, 1820-1860
“Andrew Lawson's mastery of primary and secondary sources produces an authoritative revisionist reading of Whitman's place in the social system of his day. We are introduced to a Whitman who is edgily confrontational rather than ebullient, and the poetry is refreshed by being read as zestfully combative. Walt Whitman and the Class Struggle is an arresting corrective contribution to current Whitman scholarship.”---M. Wynn Thomas, author of The Lunar Light of Whitman's Poetry and Transatlantic Connections: Whitman U.S., Whitman U.K.
“Lawson's learned, extended, and exciting rereading of Whitman's mixed diction in 'Song of Myself' refuses the casual assertion of simple 'democratic zest' in previous accounts; he shows that the unevenness of tone and the rich registers of diction reveal a complex political salience in the poem that earlier readers have missed or not known enough to see. Lawson brings alive the thick history in the Whitman voice.”---Hans Bergmann, author of God in the Street: New York Writing from the Penny Press to Melville